NEW YORK — Related Companies and the more than 100 retailers at its 1 million-square-foot Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards want to wow consumers when the vertical mall opens at noon on Friday, with everything from the store lineup to amenities to cultural programming such as “Off the Wall,” an eight-month, site-specific art and design exhibit by Culture Corps.
The works by artists such as Francesco Clemente, Will Cotton, Rachel Feinstein, Jeanette Hayes, Lara Schnitger, Rob Pruitt and Serban Ionescu on yet-to-be-leased retail spaces busy the eye and divert the mind by treating the empty storefronts as a canvas.
The Shops is 85 percent leased, according to Kenneth Himmel, president and chief executive officer of Related Urban, the mixed-use division of Related Companies that is developing the neighborhood on Manhattan’s far West Side with Oxford Properties Group. Himmel said Related kept “15 percent unleased, because, frankly, some people won’t appreciate it until they see it.”
“A good third of the tenants are innovators as first concepts never seen before or never seen in New York,” said Himmel. “We’ve spent the better part of seven years putting this collection together.”
The Shops leans into men’s wear with Mack Weldon, men’s activewear brand Rhone, and Cremieux, a collection founded by a Frenchman who fell in love with braces, British badges and checks while studying in London. Cremieux shuttered a store on Mercer Street in SoHo in anticipation of the Hudson Yards opening.
Other openings include:
• Rudsak, a Montreal-based company known for outerwear made from luxe leather, fur and fabric, and trimmed with signature hardware. It offers a down puffer jacket with a raccoon-trimmed hood for $760.
• Stance, which has been called the sneaker head’s sock. The brand said it ignited a movement of art and self-expression that’s drawn athletes, performers and cultural influencers, a group it’s dubbed the Punks & Poets.
• M Gemi, which every Monday offers a new drop of limited-edition shoes, handcrafted in Italy.
• Milk & Honey Babies, an eco-friendly retailer of baby gear and furniture.
• The Drug Store, a twist on the old-time soda fountain shop that will serve drinks concocted with natural ingredients.
• Batch, which features up-and-coming products and brands for the home, and Lovepop, which sells laser-cut cards.
• The first permanent Frankie CoLAB store specializing in limited-edition designer pieces, hard-to-find independent brands and exclusive artist and designer collaborations.
• U.K. swimwear, shapewear and resort wear label Heidi Klein’s first U.S. store.
Forty Five Ten‘s 16,000-square-foot store is a further attempt at differentiation. Really four stores with five different shopping experiences, it’s an unusual approach to merchandising. Two of the spaces flank an entrance to Neiman Marcus on the fifth floor. The unit on the right is dedicated to men’s wear, and behind a curtain partition, is a large shoe and accessories salon. The space on the left is known as 4510/SIX, and is a platform for emerging fashion and design.
The third space, across the corridor from 4510/SIX, is devoted to women’s designers, including Marni, Jil Sander, Rodarte, Molly Goddard, Marc Jacobs, Erdem, Y/Project, Sies Marjan, Rosie Assouline and Ellery. A fourth space is around the corner and sells vintage offerings from the Seventies to Nineties. Among the items: a Chanel tweed coral jacket, $1,200, and black pleated skirt, $820; Krizia all-over embellished dress with sequins, beads and rhinestones, $2,400, as well as costume and fine jewelry from the Twenties and Art Deco period, $150 to $8,000.
“We looked at different spaces at Hudson Yards,” said Kristen Cole, president and chief creative officer of Forty Five Ten. “We liked the four adjacencies. We needed this amount of space.”
Each store has its own look and cheeky irreverence and surprises, yet they all share certain design details to ensure they’re perceived as part of Forty Five Ten. Glass brick formations cut into the Snarkitechture-designed stores’ exterior walls in the shapes of broken shards of glass are the main unifying element. A stone island that looks like something out of “The Flintstones” has another piece of stone tricked out with lighting above the table. The setup can be found in two of the spaces, one in designer apparel and the other in the designer shoe and accessories space. The rock moments are low-fi future inspired by “Levitating Mass” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “It’s this insane piece,” Cole said.
The designer space features several smaller rooms off the main area that look like alcoves. “We call these Pink Pills,” Cole said, pointing out the pebble flooring with angles in it. “It’s meant to play with your senses.” The vintage shop has a lunar theme that includes metallic silver wallpaper with orbs, Marmoreal stone that’s similar to terrazzo on the floor and the cash wrap and surrounding walls. A sculpture made from a Seventies Dodge with a curved dashboard rounded into a ball looks like a space station.
“We put a lot of love in our fitting rooms,” said Cole, who was especially proud of the “little robin egg blue-colored pods” in the designer area, with high gloss-painted custom paneling and silver wallpaper.
Katie Stout is developing a nine-style, limited-edition capsule collection for Forty Five Ten under its collaboration and private label 4510/SIX. It will include her display and hangers, which will be offered for sale and will be similar to her art practice. Pieces of her art will be on display.
Asked if she’ll open any more stores, Cole let out a tired sigh and admitted that bringing Forty Five Ten at Hudson Yards online was like carrying and delivering a baby. “Probably not for a while,” she said. “The only place on our radar is L.A.”
It’s safe to say that when the Shops opens on Friday, and through the weekend, there will be a cacophony of promotions, giveaways, demonstrations and appearances, from the sublime — forbidden cocktails sipped on tree swings at pampering palace 3den — to the slightly ridiculous — balloons filled with hairstyling gift cards at Sally Hershberger. Lululemon will crank up the music for dancer and choreographer Ebony Williams, then DJ Jomero and Cocoa Sensei will get groovy.
During a press tour on Tuesday, Webber Hudson, executive vice president at Related, was asked why luxury retailers are opening stores at the Shops when there are rarely any people in luxury stores at Brookfield Place. “About 180 degrees of that trade area is water,” Hudson said. “We’re in the heart of Manhattan, an area where retail has been underserved. There’s no retail at all on the West Side except our Time Warner Center.”
Himmel added: “In luxury retail, it may take only five or six people to purchase something. Of course, we’ll get a lot more than that.”